The Prime Minister expressed his regret about the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by Rhodesia. He?
The Prime Minister expressed his regret about the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by Rhodesia. He said that Mr. Smith had had plenty of time to reach agreement with Britain. He (Mr. Smith) had had several occasions when he could have come to an agreement, but he had not used these opportunities. Two things had to be solved: The problem of the constitution and a return to legality. During the informal talks, no progress had been made. World opinion demanded that Great Britain crush the rebellion, but the government had refused to do this. There were meetings between Mr. Smith and the Commonwealth Secretary, but Mr Smith refused to come to a compromise. Only ten days ago the government agreed to compromise on the constitutional question. After forty-eight hours of discussion, the Government had reached agreement with Mr smith on an independent constitutions. A few days ago settlement had been within grasp. Never before had Britain been prepared to grant independence to a country before it had reached the state of majority rule, Mr. Smith however refused to come to an agreement. Last night we had heard that Mr. Smith and his colleagues had declared independence. Nobody had been prepared to grant so much as the government in these months. Rhodesia could by the Spring have won full legal independence. The course Mr. Smith had chosen was beset with incalculable consequences. Grave consequences would follow. Other countries had agreed to these consequences. History would place the onus of tem responsibility on the shoulders of those who had rejected settlement. "Nobody could have done more than we have done".